Seventeen Seventeens

Two hundred eighty-nine. We forget too soon, but the locust does not. Their memories are imprinted in their chitinous carapaces, programmed into their DNA. We remember the last time, seventeen years ago, when they emerged from the ground to swarm over the fields and eat everything, and we remember seventeen years before that when they did the same thing. We remember the hard year that followed, the lean year when we starved ourselves to plant our grain with hopes of a better harvest ahead. What we’ve forgotten is the seventeenth such locust event, some two hundred and eighty-nine years ago, seventeen seventeens ago, when they changed, and their true nature revealed itself, when they desired meat, not plants, and we were their harvest. Seventeen years is enough time for us to prepare their crops; seventeen seventeens is enough to replenish ourselves for their harvest. They are ready, climbing up from their earthly chambers, and this time, they must satisfy their centuries-long hunger, for that is what they were made for, every winged beast of them.